Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

What is syphilis


August 23, 2019

What is syphilis?

Syphilis rates are rising in Red Lake. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can cause long term complications if not treated early and correctly. It is spread by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, oral, or anal sex and can be passed from an infected woman to her unborn baby. Sores can be found on the penis, vagina, anus, rectum, lips, or in the mouth.

What are the symptoms?

First stage: Painless, round red sore that can appear anywhere you've had sexual contact. The sores can last 3-6 weeks.

Second Stage: Dark rash on hands or feet or elsewhere on the body, flu-like symptoms.

Third stage: No symptoms but the disease is still in the body.

Late stage: Difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis or not being able to move certain parts of the body, numbness, blindness, hearing loss and dementia and death due to the damage to internal organs.

What if I am pregnant?

Untreated syphilis during pregnancy can give your baby the infection and cause severe birth defects or death of the baby.

How do I protect myself?

The only way to avoid getting syphilis is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can reduce your risk by being in a long term committed relationship with only one partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results. Use latex condoms, the right way every time you have sex.

**Free condoms are available at the IHS pharmacy, Ponemah clinic, health stations and the community health nursing office. If you have had multiple sex partners within the last year, come in for STD testing. **

Where can I get tested?

Red Lake IHS 218-679-3912

Cass Lake IHS 218-835-3200

Planned Parenthood 218-751-8683

Red lake Comprehensive Health Community Health Nursing 218-679-3316


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